Category Archives: 2008 Election

2008: Advanced Voting Experience

Today, I chose to vote early instead of my preference for actual election day. In Athens, one can vote either at the Board of Elections or the Classic Center (civic center). While standing in the cattle lines, a man who was also in line to vote asked John and I if we knew the party affiliation of the Court of Appeals candidates. As politely as I could muster, I indicated that the election was non-partisan. He continued to ask people how to vote WHILE STANDING IN LINE. This man did indicate that he should have done better research before coming to vote. Seriously? And he gets to vote and choose who will be deciding cases in the Court of Appeals. Yikes!

As we entered the voting and another cattle line, a woman began asking the already busy pollworkers if she could get a printout of her vote to PROVE how she voted today. She did not ask quietly. No, the whole place could hear her. She continued pressing the issue and got agitated to some degree. I feared she might start some sort of revolt. She said that she’d been asking for that for 8 years. Honestly, in the 19 years that I’ve been voting no one has ever been able to make a copy of a vote. What is the world coming to? Did she want to post this one her refrigerator?

Not to mention the guy standing the big holding room who looked at the Sample Ballot and said “I don’t live here who do I vote for. Well, I live here now. But, I don’t know who to vote for.” Crimminy!

Why do people persist in being hardheaded? If you don’t know who to vote for, then don’t show up to vote. If you keep asking the same question, year in and year out, and get the same answer, why continue? If you seek a change, DON’T wait until you show up at the polling place and harass the volunteers. Challenge the people who make the decisions. And GROW THE HELL UP.

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Get a Pike

Today, the NYTimes published a scathing article about the life and times of Cindy McCain. The sole flattering aspect of the article, a photo. I believe that the fourth estate seeks pikes for their political enemies. Historically, those who challenged the king would be displayed as an example at the Tower of London. Thankfully, we don’t live that nasty England of Olde.

The media however want the proverbial ultimate sanction-literal skewering of the Republican candidates. The metaphorical impaling of the Palins and McCains just falls short for the fourth estate. The blood thirsty reporters seek and search for more raw meat, not satiated  by display on their victims’ entrails. No, these vicious cannibals seek the hearts and spleens of their victims. 

The political debate between the two candidates receives less attention than the personalities and lifestyles of the Republican ticket and spouses. Reporters will rehash old information with a new spin or, at least, a new headline. You will note that the New York Times fails to filet the life of Michelle Obama. No, why would anyone do that, she’s the wife of the media darling. Still ironic that the media cannot see their lack of objectivity. The zeal to break down McCain and Palin is matched only by their strong desire to PROTECT Obama. Sad really. 

What’s worse, the media use McCain and Palin to extend their popularity and gain status within their estate. Sadly, they don’t realize NO ONE CARES who writes the story. You are all interchangeable. Each hates McCain and Palin; I imagine that every desk has a voodoo doll effigy of McCain and Palin on pikes. At some point reporters will all realize that the venom sounds alike and negative spin run together in a vitriolic rage. You will gain no readers or popularity or more importantly name recognition. Why not find a real story to write about? After the election, you will all be relegated to boring topics. Why not be creative? Oh, that would require you to work and get NEW information.

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On Fairy Tales and Role Models

As Sarah Palin’s nomination continues to foment in the media, many people comment both on the internet and in media about her qualifications, record, and personality. What strikes me about the commentary is not the content but what commentary is publicized by the media and whose opinions go unpublished.

Matt Damon’s very public comments calling Palin’s life a bad disney movie aired on cable news outlets. What distinguishes Damon’s opinion or John Voigt’s opinion from regular folks? How are these individuals more qualified to comment than the rest of us?

They are not. Conveniently for celebrities cameras seek them out and beg for comment. The educational background, political expertise and credibility of these folks remains unmeasured just like regular people. But the American public now sees the reverse of photog media frenzy that drove Brittany Spears to a mental hospital (among other things), the exploitation of the photog media frenzy by the subjects of the frenzy. Any famous person (usually of the liberal persuasion) now seeks out the cameras and the media to unload political diatribes.

How should the public respond to the foisting of political ideology from untested sources onto their election consideration? Any product or book mentioned by Oprah flies off shelves before the episode concludes. Senator Obama may not have received the same treatment from Oprah devotees as Oprah’s food guru. How does that translate to other celebrities? Hollywood packages characters for instant purchase at the local mall. Look like them, smell like them, you could even talk like them.

Do we really want to vote like them? What criteria make celebs a better political advisor than say the man who runs the convenience store down the street? Nothing. Celebs just look pretty and exercise for a living instead of punching a clock and attending to family matters.

At what point do you draw the line between seeking similarity and defining individualism? At what point, does one decide for themselves whether such a thing as a “good” disney movie exists and whether Palin’s political rise is a “bad” movie or just hokie in way that many regular people idealize?

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Choice Considered

Oprah, Hillary, and Sarah do not plow new ground. Each makes a choice based on standards and principles NOT based on how their choices will affect women as gender.

In the last 30 years, the visibility of women in U.S. popular and political culture has risen dramatically. As a grammar school student, I distinctly remember the importance of newly sworn in Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole and Astronaut Sally Ride. These three women held a place in my world because they were women on a stage where men dominated. These ladies provided hope for those who saw more men than women in politics, even for a 7 year old. Perhaps I could not articulate that at 7 but I do recall the roles they played in the world.

In 1984, Geraldine Ferraro cracked another glass ceiling. Amazing even to a 10 year old that Ferraro’s name appeared on all those signs with that guy who was running for president. Incredible.

Today, the media highlights a controversy between one of the richest people in the country-she happens to be a woman- and the Republican Vice Presidential Candidate-also happens to be a woman. Efforts to enlist a former presidential candidate-yep, a woman- to fight claims by the Republican Vice Presidential Candidate met luke warm success. How’s that for amazing.

Oprah Winfrey made a calculated choice to support Senator Barack Obama, after his several appearances on her show. Winfrey openly raised money for and introduced Obama to the world before he was a household name. Winfrey’s power to effect the choice of her viewers and devotees has been established by sales of any product, book or thing Oprah mentions favorably. I seriously doubt that Oprah will change her position related an interview for an active female Vice Presidential candidate.

Why would Oprah refuse such a lucrative, high profile interview? Oprah is a savvy public relations agent for Obama. An Oprah interview for Palin increases Palin’s exposure exponentially. Palin is personable and engaging. In Oprah’s format, Palin will be a rockstar. Oprah chose to endorse and monetarily support Obama. Oprah will not provide that platform for the McCain-Palin ticket.

The conundrum for Oprah will be what to do if Obama’s poll statistics are negatively impacted over the long haul. Oprah’s response to an overwhelming outcry to see Palin on the Harpo sofa: my show will not be used for politics. Does that position change when Obama needs a boost? How will viewers respond if she changes this position to help Obama? Based on news reports, some viewers have already tuned out. Others may follow suit and choose to tune Oprah out when there is no Palin interview.

Sarah Palin’s appeal and personality translated well during her initial introduction to the nation the day following the Democrat Convention. Should Palin accept an invitation to Oprah world? I’d say no. If Oprah would change position and invite Palin on her show, Palin would not receive the regular Oprah embracing interview. That is not to say Oprah would be rude or impolite, but this interview would not be the same style interview to which we are all accustomed. An Oprah interview with an uncomfortable Oprah would be a much larger crap shoot for Palin than regular Oprah. Palin, even if invited, would be well advised to decline that interview.

The assistance of Senator Hillary Clinton, now a reluctant partisan of Senator Obama, has been recruited to dig out of the sexist hole into which Obama and his campaign fell. Unfortunately for Obama, Senator Clinton sees the larger picture. In her speeches, Clinton fails to condemn Palin’s perceived flaws and rumored misdoings. Why? Clinton understands that the gender- and family-based mud she slings against Palin will be returned to Clinton like a boomerang the next time she runs for office. Clinton’s family life has never been perfect. The life and times of the Clinton union, memorialized in “Bloodsport,” showcases a life with human flaws. Clinton will not sink to the level Obama wishes, if only avoid equal treatment later.

Palin will need to answer tough questions. Oprah’s couch won’t be available until after the November election. Perhaps that’s how it should be. Tough questions posed by an unbiased, impartial interviewer might better serve the public and Palin herself.

The issues raised this week highlight another remarkable change in American society. Women speaking their minds either by feedback to Oprah or interviews with the media. Senator Clinton chooses what to say and how to present it without the necessity of following orders from Obama. Oprah makes all her own choices and articulated her reasoning behind those choices. Palin’s choices to challenge Alaskan establishment show her capacity for making her own decisions. Women dominate the media coverage of politics and it’s not just because they are women. Ain’t life grand!

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Why the Media Should Apologize!

Dear Politico.com:

The media should apologize for not thinking before speaking. Are questions about the candidate valid? The candidate’s record? Absolutely. You liberal minded writers have valid questions.

When you ask, HOWEVER, whether a woman should be at home raising her child instead of running a state or a corporation you have turned the clock back entirely too far and shown misogynist roots! When the teenage daughter of this candidate has made a difficult choice-why should she be vilified?

Keep on topic. Ask your questions. Just remember, no one asked if she should be barefoot pregnant but y’all came damn close. Being a sexist will get you criticized every time.

The elitist problem the media will never get over. Until you understand the intricate workings of a small town, y’all will never understand how simply elitist you really are.

Thanks for your attention.

Salmonandgrits

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You can’t be serious

The media are “hurt” by John McCain’s attacks on their credibility and ethics? According to the New York Times today  http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/04/us/politics/04media.html that’s the case.

How dare John McCain point out that the media treat one candidate differently from another? How could he possibly expect that the media would treat a female candidate the same as the male candidates? Why that’s just plain wrong. The media should be able to personally attack anyone they choose without scrutiny or recourse, right? No one looks over their shoulder to insure quality, ethics and standards are being met because the media have no quality, ethics or standards. Who does John McCain think he is?

New Flash: The liberal media need to find a place where they can objectively see themselves and what they have become. Right now, the liberal media functions as the public relations arm of the Obama campaign. Can these people seriously say that in the 21st century questioning the ability of a woman to govern is a fair question? Can the media justify taking a microscope to the life of Sarah Palin and her family without using that same lens to examine the lives of Joe Biden and Barack Obama and John McCain? Can these biased political observers explain why the privacy of Obama is observed when the privacy of Palin is not?

If so, I’d like to hear it. The answer should not include the fact that before Friday no one had ever heard of Governor Sarah Palin. The natural curiosity of a reporter does not equate to a story that should appear in a newspaper or on the internet. The prurient interests of editors and reporters should not justify the vilification of a teenage girl who made a mistake and then a choice.

Somebody needs to find real objective standards for the media.

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Incongruence

Senator Barack Obama spent the better part of the weekend comparing his qualifications to the qualifications of Governor Sarah Palin. Why? Following nomination as Presidential candidate for the Democrats, Obama focused a significant amount of energy comparing the qualifications of the Presidential candidate to the qualifications of the would-be Republican Vice Presidential candidate. Why?

Because Obama’s accomplishments fall far short of John McCain’s actual accomplishments. Obama says that his campaign is a movement for change. What change has he accomplished? What legislation has his name on it? None.

McCain found a running mate who bucks the system, stands up for an objective standard of right, and who has in fact been an agent of change. Palin’s successes in Alaska make Obama appear to be the Washington establishment elitist that he is. Obama shouldn’t be comparing himself to Palin. But if he does, all the better, he’s just conceding that McCain is more qualified.

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